Do you love or loathe networking? Perhaps it is something in between. 

Attending professional events of any kind can be a powerful way of connecting with like-minded people, a way of building your brand and a way of potentially fueling your client pipeline.

Today, I’m thrilled to represent the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce as the Chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee at their annual Inspiring Women’s Event. We have a great line-up of presenters including JUNO Award-Winning Musician & Mental Health Advocate, Serena Ryder. I’m looking forward to meeting Serena and sharing on the topic of Health, Wellness & the Art of Resiliency.

If you tend to be more on the introverted side, attending events can seem daunting and emotionally draining. Having a plan for approaching the event is helpful. 

Be intentional. 
I find these tips help me get the most out of participating in networking events:

  • Know why you are attending and be able to link the reason to one of your professional goals;
  • Consider who you hope to meet and why;
  • Map out a few questions you’d like answered;
  • If there is a presenter or panel, consider if you could interview them or arrange a coffee post event to learn more and foster a new professional connection;
  • If you use social media, think about how you might leverage attending both before and after the event
  • Explore if there is an opportunity to sponsor the event or donate to a charity associated with the event. This could be an important way to elevate awareness of your connection to the cause.
  • Most importantly, be clear about what success will look like and how you want to feel as a result of attending the event.

Being intentional about your involvement in a networking event and knowing what you want from the event is key. Set a small, realistic and attainable goal. Perhaps you decide you want to hand out 3 of your business cards or arrange to meet the keynote speaker. There are many small, but powerful possibilities to be intentional about how you participate and engage in your next networking event.